At the recent Kuwait Aviation Show, we had a chance to sit down with Ahmed Alharty, Terminal Operations Manager at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, to discuss how the airport is perfectly positioned for growth.
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With 51 airlines serving 27.9 million passengers annually, King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh won’t make the list of world’s busiest airports anytime soon.
However, recent expansion projects combined with a new, more relaxed tourism policy should offer passengers traveling to (and through) KKIA a better experience.
According to DFNI, KKIA’s Terminal 3 and 4 are due for completion in 2020. Terminal 3 has been closed since August 2018 while Terminal 4 has never even been occupied.
London-based The Design Solution has the role of commercial planning as part of the airport’s major redevelopment program. Sources indicate that the expansion will include a “new centralized, post-security commercial area between Terminals 1 and 2” as a way to enhance passenger experience while providing additional sources of revenue:
“We are undertaking major transformations in Riyadh Airports as part of privatizing the Aviation Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, therefore we are always seeking opportunities to optimize KKIA’s commercial returns, enhance the passenger’s experience and play a major role in promoting our strategic goals, such as being among the top 50 airports in the world.” -Gelban AlGelban, VP Commercial, Riyadh Airports Company.
Alharty tells us that the airport is mainly a gateway to the rest of the country, receiving passengers who transfer through to domestic flights. In fact, the airport’s growth is mainly on the domestic side at roughly 13.5%. On the international passenger side, the airport is only seeing 4.4-4.5% growth.
“We think this will change with eVisa now. We will get more transfer passengers [and] we are improving our services when it comes to [handling] international transfer passengers. Our aim is to remove all these barriers for transfer passengers at the airport.” -Ahmed Alharty, Terminal Operations Manager at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport
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